Monday, April 27, 2009

By David Saltzer - Columnist

Hot Prospects April 27, 2009

The past week saw a lot of good performances from several players throughout the organization. So, limiting the list down to just a Top-10 list was rather difficult. There were, however, several noteworthy performances from players who were promoted a level and excelled at the higher level. While some of the roster moves could be the result of all the injuries to the parent club, when asked, Eddie Bane said that if these players “go to a higher club and get everybody out then the Angels would not send them back just to send them back.” With all of that in mind, here is our Top-10 prospect list for April 27, 2009.

1. Trevor Reckling, LHP, Arkansas Travelers
Past 7 Days: 1-1, 0 Saves, 0.69 ERA, 13.0 IP, 6 H, 5 BB, 7 K, 0.85 WHIP
Overall: 2-2, 0 Saves, 0.72 ERA, 25.0 IP, 12 H, 6 BB, 20 K, 1.03 WHIP, 140 BAA

What’s Up: Recently promoted to AA-Arkansas, Trevor dominated the Northwest Arkansas Naturals in his first start by limiting them to only 3 hits and no runs in 6.0 innings. At 20, he was the youngest pitcher to win a game for the Travelers since Rick Ankiel won a game for them in 1999! At this rate, this young lefty may find himself as the youngest pitcher to win a game for the Angels in a long time as he continues to leadoff our Hot Prospects list for the second week in a row.

2. Michael Kohn, RHP, Cedar Rapids Kernels
Past 7 Days: 0-0, 0 Saves, 0.00 ERA, 3.1 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 5 K, 0.30 WHIP
Overall: 2-0, 0 Saves, 0.00 ERA, 10.0 IP, 2 H, 3 BB, 13 K, 0.50 WHIP, 074 BAA

What’s Up: Michael has started off this season right where he ended up last season—red hot! Last year he did not allow a run over his last 7 appearances and this year he has started off with another string of 7 appearances without allowing a run. Michael knows how to put hitters away—he struck out 44 last year in just 23.1 innings. He also can go more than an inning in a relief appearance, having logged more than 1 IP in 4 out of his 7 appearances this year. With the meltdown of our ML bullpen, Kohn could rise rapidly in our organization.

3. Peter Bourjos, OF, Arkansas Travelers
Past 7 Games: 8/23 (348), 1 Doubles, 1 Triple, 0 HR, 4 Runs, 2 RBIs, 4 SB
Overall: 339/424/482 with 0 HRs and 8 SBs

What’s Up: Here’s the thing to note about Bourjos: Over the past 7 games, he’s had 3 BBs and 5 Ks. Overall on the season, he’s had 8 BBs and 12 Ks. Last year, he only walked 19 times and struck out 96 times. That is a HUGE improvement for him and is why he’s sporting a 906 OPS out of the leadoff spot. As a future leadoff hitter, getting on base is critical for him because we know that once he’s on he can fly! It’s good to see him taking the newfound respect for patience to heart.

4. Trevor Bell, RHP, Arkansas Travelers
Past 7 Days: 2-0, 0 Saves, 0.00 ERA, 12.0 IP, 9 H, 6 BB, 7 K, 1.25 WHIP
Overall: 2-0, 0 Saves, 1.59 ERA, 17.0 IP, 14 H, 7 BB, 9 K, 1.14 WHIP, 215 BAA

What’s Up: 2009 has started out completely differently for Bell than 2008. He’s back to his form that led to him being a 1st round draft pick by the Angels and is becoming an integral part of an incredible rotation for the Travelers. Part of that may be his improved ability to pitch down in the zone. As a result, his GO/AO rate has soared to 2.15 this season and he has only allowed 1 HR so far.

5. Jayson Miller, LHP, Rancho Cucamonga Quakes
Past 7 Days: 1-1, 0 Saves, 0.00 ERA, 12 IP, 11 H, 1 BB, 8 K, 1.00 WHIP
Overall: 1-1, 0 Saves, 2.00 ERA, 18.0 IP, 16 H, 1 BB, 15 K, 0.94 WHIP, 232 BAA

What’s Up: Jayson Miller is another lefty that couldn’t be left off of this week’s Top Prospects list. Recently promoted to High-A at Rancho Cucamonga, Jayson was in cool command in his first start in the high-octane league. He struck out 4 and didn’t walk anyone in 6.0 innings and has only issued 1 walk this entire season. With 3 of the top 5 Top Prospects this week being Lefty-Starters, the Angels clearly have a stockpile of that rare talent in development.

6. Jordan Walden, RHP, Arkansas Travelers
Past 7 Days: 0-0, 0 Saves, 0.00 ERA, 7.0 IP, 6 H, 2 BB, 6 K, 1.14 WHIP
Overall: 0-1, 0 Saves, 3.95 ERA, 13.2 IP, 13 H, 8 BB, 12 K, 1.54 WHIP, 260 BAA

What’s Up: Aside from 1 bad start at Midland, where he gave up 4 earned runs in 1.2 innings, Walden has been pitching like we would expect. When he’s on, he can just blow it by hitters. He needs to work on reproducing quality pitches more often and getting the ball down in the zone more (his GO/AO ratio has shrunk from 2.11 last year to 0.79 this year). But, the good news is that Walden is finally being challenged by tougher hitters and is adjusting to the competition. As for Walden’s future, as Eddie Bane put it last Friday “I would like to see Jordan Walden stay in a starting role. He may end up being a major league closer, but that would be down the road. Walden hooked up with Kasey Kiker (Rangers) the other night in a 1-0 12 inning game. A classic.”

7. Alexia Amarista, 2B, Cedar Rapids Kernels
Past 7 Games: 9/24 (375), 2 Doubles, 0 Triples, 0 HRs, 5 Runs, 2 RBIs, 1 SBs
Overall: 333/419/519 with 0 HRs and 5 SBs

What’s Up: Signed out of our Dominican Academy, Alexia is not the typical Latin player. He’s very patient at the plate—he posted a 416 OB% for all of last year in Orem. This switch hitting MIF has speed and plays solid defense. Off to a hot start in his first full season at Cedar Rapids, Alexia adjusting to the new league very well. When asked about Alexia, Eddie Bane said “He can really make things happen in my mind.” With his high OB%, look for Alexia to continue to bat second in the lineup, although he might become a leadoff hitter.

8. Ryan Brasier, RHP, Arkansas Travelers
Past 7 Days: 0-0, 2 Saves, 0.00 ERA, 5.0 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 4 K, 1.00 WHIP
Overall: 1-0, 2 Saves, 0.77 ERA, 11.2 IP, 7 H, 3 BB, 9 K, 0.86 WHIP, 171 BAA

What’s Up: Another recent promotion, Brasier has been making the most out of it by earning 2 saves in 3 games pitched this week for the Double-A Travelers. Ryan saved 2 out of the 3 wins the Travelers had against NW Arkansas to give them their first series win of the year. It appears that Brasier is being worked into the bullpen for the Travelers, but, in time could move into the closer’s role and could continue to rise in the organization with more weeks like this.

9. Tyler Chatwood, RHP, Cedar Rapids Kernels
Past 7 Days: 0-0, 0 Saves, 0.00 ERA, 5.0 IP, 1 H, 5 BB, 6 K, 1.20 WHIP
Overall: 0-0, 0 Saves, 0.00 ERA, 5.0 IP, 1 H, 5 BB, 6 K, 1.20 WHIP, 077 BAA

What’s Up: Making his season debut for the Kernels last Friday, Chatwood limited the Clinton Lumberkings to just one hit in 5 full innings. He struggled early on with his control but then settled down to strikeout 6 players. This year will be a big year for Chatwood as he focuses solely on developing as a pitcher. With his heat and curve, he can be a top of the rotation pitcher as long as the control is there. As Chatwood relaxes on the mound, refines his mechanics, and fills out, he should excel through the organization.

10. Sean O’Sullivan, RHP, Salt Lake Bees
Past 7 Days: 1-0, 0 Saves, 2.84 ERA, 6.1 IP, 7 H, 1 BB, 4 K, 1.26 WHIP
Overall: 2-2, 0 Saves, 4.68 ERA, 25.0 IP, 28 H, 1 BB, 18 K, 1.16 WHIP, 283 BAA

What’s Up: Making the jump to the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees, O’Sullivan pitched like he belonged at that level. At 21, he’s one of the younger pitchers in the league. But, he held Portland to just 7 hits and 1 walk—the first walk he’s issued all year. He’s improving his control down in the zone, and has increased his GO/AO ratio from 1.29 last year to 1.80 so far this year. With all the injuries to the Angels rotation, O’Sullivan could find himself as the #1 pitcher on our depth chart should we continue to have problems.

Others to Watch:
AAA Salt Lake Bees
Brad Coon—defensively solid CF, he’s sporting a 361/489/556 line.
Robert Mosebach—Doing a fine job as a reliever after getting promoted to SLC.
Chris Pettit—solid OF defense and posting a 320/364/480 line at the plate.
Sean Rodriguez—the power numbers are there (6 HRs) but the average has taken a dip lately.
Bobby Wilson—if the Angels need help behind the dish, he’s posting a 303/378/697 line.

AA Arkansas Travelers
Michael Anton—Another lefty with a good performance, just not quite as good as the others.
Hank Conger—He went 5 for 8 the last two games with 3 rbis.
Ryan Mount—Barely missed the list and went 8/24 last week.
Nate Sutton—Another one who barely missed the list and went 9/21 with 4 walks and 3 SBs.

A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes
Ismael Carmona—He struck out 5 in 4.0 IP last week and only walked 1 with no runs allowed.
Efren Navarro—Went 12/31 and is hitting 317/377/476.
Andrew Romine—Went 10/27 with 2 SBs.
Matt Sweeney—Cooled off a bit last week and had 3 good games and 4 hitless games.

A Cedar Rapids Kernels
Gabe Jacobo—Went 5/15 the weekend to raise his BA to 241.
Darwin Perez—Went 6/12 in his last 4 games and is hitting 289/413/316.
Love to hear what you think!


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